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Everywhere you look, it seems the advertisements today are focused on being eco - friendly.

From the coffee cups made of post consumer goods to batteries that are made in a "eco-friendly" environment. Everything is focused on (finally) being kind to the environment. But what does this mean for farming and agriculture?

Does simply organic farming make you an environmentally responsible farmer? 

Or is it more then that?

Do we need to find ways to reuse our products and waste in new and different ways?

 

What makes you an environmentally responsible farmer?
Are your plans to help the environment achievable on a long-term basis?  

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Everyone who runs a farm is totally aware of the farming practices, if not we have the thought police to remind us.  The reason there is so many eco friendly advertisements is called programming. Buy eco friendly this and that. Its an industry like all the others, invent a problem, government creates laws to regulate or put a tax on select items. Fastfoods, alochol examples.

The big one globel warming, classic example. End result carbon taxes going to IMF, you as a farmer not owning the soil, because you solded to a multinational to pollute who restrict what you can grow. Your income halves and you have to work harder to keep your standard of living. Your land tax doubles, because the income value of the land has increased. But no that couldn't happen.

Hi Mackenna,

I think that in Europe and North America the consumer is becoming more environmentally aware....

This in turn drives the marketplace and governments to act...

If the consumer wants to support environmental causes, there will be a market segment that food marketers will target to meet the demand...usually at a premium.

 

I think most farmers are environmentally friendly...some may want to adopt different practises to take advantage of new market opportunities.

 

The government then follows with new rules and regulations it seems....

 

I don't think this is a fad but a new reality for North American producers so we need to figure out how to manage the opportunities and changes.

 

Take care,

 

Joe

 

Even the Ontario Agri Business Association, OABA is getting involved...

Here is a video message from OABA.

 

A lot of people blame government for all of the "eco friendly" propaganda, but actually it is private business that is trying to convince us that buying their products means we are "saving the environment". There are tons of "natural" products out there that have very little ecological benefit. It is the same for "healthy" food labels. Just because a product has no transfats or is low in sodium, does not mean it is healthy.

While it is true that consumers are becoming more aware, I think it is more common that consumers and farmers are being duped into believing they are making ecologically sound decisions.

I see it all over the place, the ag industry trying to paint itself as ecological. I see a lot of high tech solutions that I think are helping (GPS, IPM, etc). However, I see a lot of farmers using un-ecological practices. In some cases they are naive and do not realize the ecological impacts of their practices. In other cases they are indifferent.

Organic agriculture, though, is a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, in my view.

I take issue with the comment, "Does simply organic farming make you an environmentally responsible farmer?" The question implies that organic farming is simple. I think the implication is also that organic farming is merely farming in the absence of chemical inputs, which is a gross misunderstanding of organic production. Organic farming is not a "simple" farming system, but is a holistic approach to farming that includes fostering biodiversity, nutrient recycling, producing your own inputs when possible, rebuilding soil ecosystems, rebuilding other ecosystems, etc, etc. In other words, being an organic farmer and abiding by the guidelines of organic agriculture, as stated in the beginning pages of the Canadian Organic Standard, does make you an environmentally responsible farmer. This is not to say that there are not organic farms that are not environmentally responsible, but I think this is the exception to the rule.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with farmers going beyond what is in the Organic Standards to improve their ecological impact even greater, and I see a lot of organic farmers doing just that. But you would have a hard time convincing me that most conventional, no-till or GMO farms are ecological on a long term basis.

Colin, Do you actually see organice farming is the light at the end of the tunnel?  I encourage farmers to follow the practices that they see as best for their farm and how they want to make a living.

Today, to be a sustainable cash crop farmer, you need to have production scale and be efficient over a large number of acres.  Combining this year, where the weed control was terrible the corn yields were 20 bu per acre...where I had clean fields the corn yielded 150 bu per acre. 

Is organic farming possible if you are not targeting a niche market opportunity?  I don't see it myself.

 

I am sorry to tell you but your corn is infected with gm genes. Also according to some of the organic assocations you, don't get your certificate until soil is tested.  This is what happens when you take the devils road of Mono santo.

Roadrunner said:

Colin, Do you actually see organice farming is the light at the end of the tunnel?  I encourage farmers to follow the practices that they see as best for their farm and how they want to make a living.

Today, to be a sustainable cash crop farmer, you need to have production scale and be efficient over a large number of acres.  Combining this year, where the weed control was terrible the corn yields were 20 bu per acre...where I had clean fields the corn yielded 150 bu per acre. 

Is organic farming possible if you are not targeting a niche market opportunity?  I don't see it myself.

 

Sorry Bristow, I don't quite understand what you are saying.

Roadrunner, you are right, farmers need to choose the system that works for them, but they need to know that organic is an option and get over the misconceptions about it.

I am also a little confused about your corn yield info - is that for organic corn or not? If not, case in point. I think you are missing part of the point of organic production. Organic agriculture is rooted in soil management. Improved soil structure increases the water holding capacity and the drainage of soils resulting in less damage to excessive rains.

Organic production encourages diversity and rotations, which depend on good planning. I spoke to an organic farmer who had a poor corn yield this year, but his small grains, hay and soybeans were through the roof! This is a principle called "resilience" (colloquially referred to as "don't put all of your eggs in one basket"). It means that by maintaining diversity you reduce risk; if conditions are such that something does poorly, those are probably good conditions for something else. This may seem less "efficient" to you, but actually it is efficient over a longer period of time since it improves soil, reduces pests, etc, etc. Eventually your inputs are reduced, while at the same time yields increase. Cost of production on organic farms is roughly equal to conventional, but energy consumption is way lower on organic farms. Sounds like an efficient system to me.

Granted, the smaller acreage does lend itself to benefiting from niche markets, but I know organic farmers in Ontario with over 1000 acres in production. People need to get over the niche market thing though. Organic is a legitimate ag system, that is improving yields and increasing soil productivity over time, and arguably producing more nutrient dense food, and reducing dependency on fossil fuels. That sounds to me like a system that can feed the world better than what the GMO industry advertisements are touting.

 

 


Monsanto sue people that have any trace of their genes in corn. So if your neigbour has gm corn, sour, wheat. The pollen blows to yourside of the fence and infects your seed. You get sued
Colin Lundy said:

Sorry Bristow, I don't quite understand what you are saying.

Roadrunner, you are right, farmers need to choose the system that works for them, but they need to know that organic is an option and get over the misconceptions about it.

I am also a little confused about your corn yield info - is that for organic corn or not? If not, case in point. I think you are missing part of the point of organic production. Organic agriculture is rooted in soil management. Improved soil structure increases the water holding capacity and the drainage of soils resulting in less damage to excessive rains.

Organic production encourages diversity and rotations, which depend on good planning. I spoke to an organic farmer who had a poor corn yield this year, but his small grains, hay and soybeans were through the roof! This is a principle called "resilience" (colloquially referred to as "don't put all of your eggs in one basket"). It means that by maintaining diversity you reduce risk; if conditions are such that something does poorly, those are probably good conditions for something else. This may seem less "efficient" to you, but actually it is efficient over a longer period of time since it improves soil, reduces pests, etc, etc. Eventually your inputs are reduced, while at the same time yields increase. Cost of production on organic farms is roughly equal to conventional, but energy consumption is way lower on organic farms. Sounds like an efficient system to me.

Granted, the smaller acreage does lend itself to benefiting from niche markets, but I know organic farmers in Ontario with over 1000 acres in production. People need to get over the niche market thing though. Organic is a legitimate ag system, that is improving yields and increasing soil productivity over time, and arguably producing more nutrient dense food, and reducing dependency on fossil fuels. That sounds to me like a system that can feed the world better than what the GMO industry advertisements are touting.

 

 

This is a real problem, which is why there is so much concern over the possible release of GE alfalfa. Soy and wheat are self pollinating, so their pollen does not drift much, but canola, flax, beet, corn, and alfalfa are insect or wind pollinated, which means the pollen drifts far and wide, infecting the fields of farmers who do not want GE genes in their seeds.

Bristow said:

Monsanto sue people that have any trace of their genes in corn. So if your neigbour has gm corn, sour, wheat. The pollen blows to yourside of the fence and infects your seed. You get sued
Colin Lundy said:

Sorry Bristow, I don't quite understand what you are saying.

Roadrunner, you are right, farmers need to choose the system that works for them, but they need to know that organic is an option and get over the misconceptions about it.

I am also a little confused about your corn yield info - is that for organic corn or not? If not, case in point. I think you are missing part of the point of organic production. Organic agriculture is rooted in soil management. Improved soil structure increases the water holding capacity and the drainage of soils resulting in less damage to excessive rains.

Organic production encourages diversity and rotations, which depend on good planning. I spoke to an organic farmer who had a poor corn yield this year, but his small grains, hay and soybeans were through the roof! This is a principle called "resilience" (colloquially referred to as "don't put all of your eggs in one basket"). It means that by maintaining diversity you reduce risk; if conditions are such that something does poorly, those are probably good conditions for something else. This may seem less "efficient" to you, but actually it is efficient over a longer period of time since it improves soil, reduces pests, etc, etc. Eventually your inputs are reduced, while at the same time yields increase. Cost of production on organic farms is roughly equal to conventional, but energy consumption is way lower on organic farms. Sounds like an efficient system to me.

Granted, the smaller acreage does lend itself to benefiting from niche markets, but I know organic farmers in Ontario with over 1000 acres in production. People need to get over the niche market thing though. Organic is a legitimate ag system, that is improving yields and increasing soil productivity over time, and arguably producing more nutrient dense food, and reducing dependency on fossil fuels. That sounds to me like a system that can feed the world better than what the GMO industry advertisements are touting.

 

 

 I had two cousins in Australia sued 8 years ago by Mono santo lost everything. two years out of a drought. They delieved aload down to the silos and they were testing every truck that came in. Two months later a letter in the mail, either pay for the use of intengltral property or you will be sued. Went to the local member all that got out of him was unfoturnate a fair and I will investigate the matter. In other words so sad too bad. 12 months latter they had to have a farm sale. All I have to say to those people who get into bed with MonoSanto is you sow what you reap.

Colin Lundy said:
This is a real problem, which is why there is so much concern over the possible release of GE alfalfa. Soy and wheat are self pollinating, so their pollen does not drift much, but canola, flax, beet, corn, and alfalfa are insect or wind pollinated, which means the pollen drifts far and wide, infecting the fields of farmers who do not want GE genes in their seeds.

Bristow said:

Monsanto sue people that have any trace of their genes in corn. So if your neigbour has gm corn, sour, wheat. The pollen blows to yourside of the fence and infects your seed. You get sued
Colin Lundy said:

Sorry Bristow, I don't quite understand what you are saying.

Roadrunner, you are right, farmers need to choose the system that works for them, but they need to know that organic is an option and get over the misconceptions about it.

I am also a little confused about your corn yield info - is that for organic corn or not? If not, case in point. I think you are missing part of the point of organic production. Organic agriculture is rooted in soil management. Improved soil structure increases the water holding capacity and the drainage of soils resulting in less damage to excessive rains.

Organic production encourages diversity and rotations, which depend on good planning. I spoke to an organic farmer who had a poor corn yield this year, but his small grains, hay and soybeans were through the roof! This is a principle called "resilience" (colloquially referred to as "don't put all of your eggs in one basket"). It means that by maintaining diversity you reduce risk; if conditions are such that something does poorly, those are probably good conditions for something else. This may seem less "efficient" to you, but actually it is efficient over a longer period of time since it improves soil, reduces pests, etc, etc. Eventually your inputs are reduced, while at the same time yields increase. Cost of production on organic farms is roughly equal to conventional, but energy consumption is way lower on organic farms. Sounds like an efficient system to me.

Granted, the smaller acreage does lend itself to benefiting from niche markets, but I know organic farmers in Ontario with over 1000 acres in production. People need to get over the niche market thing though. Organic is a legitimate ag system, that is improving yields and increasing soil productivity over time, and arguably producing more nutrient dense food, and reducing dependency on fossil fuels. That sounds to me like a system that can feed the world better than what the GMO industry advertisements are touting.

 

 

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